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Self neglect

Self neglect is when a person being unable, or unwilling, to care for their own essential needs. It can cover a wide range of behaviour including neglecting personal hygiene, health or surroundings, refusal of necessary support and obsessive hoarding. This type of behaviour has serious implications for the health and wellbeing of the person concerned and for the people who care for and support them.

What is self neglect?

  • lack of self-care to an extent that it threatens personal health and safety
  • neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings
  • inability to avoid harm as a result of self-neglect
  • failure to seek help or access services to meet health and social care needs
  • inability or unwillingness to manage one’s personal affairs

The Care Act 2014 recognises self-neglect as a category of abuse and neglect, which means that people who self-neglect will be supported by safeguarding adults teams, as well as receiving more general social care support.

For other information that may be useful if you have a concern about someone that is self neglecting, please view the health and wellbeing section of our site.

For a list of services that can provide advice and support to people who may be self neglecting, please use the Self Neglect Directory. 

For some top tips on Self Neglect and Hoarding, please view the new Self-Neglect and Hoarding toolkit, as provided by Care Knowledge.


In October 2020, Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board launched a new animation video which highlights the challenges faced when working with someone who can self-neglect. The key messages from this video were taken from the lessons learnt from Lambeth Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs), but they resonate with the lessons learned from recent Devon SARs. Please follow the below link to watch this video:

Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board Self-Neglect Animation Video


Getting help

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

They can offer Home Safety Checks to offer practical advice on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

0800 05 02 999

Hoarding UK

The only UK-wide charity dedicated to supporting people affected by hoarding behaviours. Their aim is to empower individuals experiencing hoarding behaviours to achieve spatial and personal change to improve their health and wellbeing, to improve practice amongst professionals, to raise awareness and increase understanding.

020 3239 1600


A provider of advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

0300 123 3393